FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
- Does Pinellas County have a dog park?
- Is there a leash law in Pinellas County?
- How do I become a foster care provider?
- What is canine "kennel cough"?
- What is feline upper respiratory infection?
What should a pet owner do when a storm is approaching?
- What is the adoption procedure?
- How long do the animals stay up for adoption?
- Then what does it mean that you only hold an animal for four to seven days?
- How long do you hold animals?
- Where do the animals come from?
- Do you have puppies that will stay small?
- Do you have a specific breed of dog or cat?
- What are your operating hours and location?
- Do you provide veterinary services to the public?
- What type of items do you accept for donation?
- What are your adoption fees?
- Is there a cost for dropping off an animal?
- What are the fees for a county license?
- Who do I call about roadside animal corpse removal?
- How do I adopt a featured pet?
- What exactly do you do?
- Why does it take so long for animal enforcement officers to respond?
- What should we do until you arrive to help?
- I can get rabies vaccinations for a three-year period, but I have to renew my animal license tag annually. Why can’t I purchase a tag that is good for more than one year?
- Can I remain anonymous when I call you?
- What do you consider an emergency?
- Why do I have to trap stray cats?
- Can you bring me a trap?
- I need a trap now! Is there any other place where I can rent, purchase or borrow a trap?
- If I get a trap elsewhere and catch something where do I take the animal?
- What happens to the animals when you take them from the trap?
- Does it take someone getting mauled or killed before you will remove a vicious dog from its owners?
- My neighbor has a vicious dog. It is in a fenced area, but it is a pit bull and I am afraid of it. How do I go about getting it removed from the neighborhood?
- I am the manager of a mobile home park and we have restrictions on pets and do not allow large breed dogs in our park. We have a tenant that has a Rottweiler and we need you to make them get rid of it?
- Why was an Animal Services vehicle at my house this morning?
- I’ve lost my cat or dog, what do I do?
- I have a problem with wild animals (raccoons, opossums, etc) getting into my garbage, what should I do?
- I have a snake in my yard and do not know what kind it is or where it is now. What should I do?
- What if there is a snake inside my home?
- Does Animal Services have any educational programs where you come out and address home owner associations, Schools, etc?
- Does the leash law really apply to cats?
- I have bees, you are Animal Services, and can you come and remove them?
- How long is going to take for an officer to get here?
- Why can't you make my call the highest urgency call?
- Do you pick up dead animals?
- How can I get rid of armadillos around my house?
- I keep trapping raccoons around my house, but the next night another one shows up, what can I do about these animals?
- I saw a raccoon, opossum or fox in my yard during the day; does it have rabies?
- I saw an opossum in my trash can and when I approached it hissed at me and it looks really sick, is that a sign of rabies?
- Can I give my dog or cat rabies vaccinations?
- My roommate has a dog and I help take care of it when he’s at work, when I let the dog go out he won’t come back when I call. Can I be held responsible for the dog?
- My dogs like to ride in the back of my truck what are the laws regarding him riding back there?
- My dog died. Can I bury him in the backyard?
- I just bought a dog from someone and it was sick. Is there a law against selling a sick dog?
- My dog has all of its vaccinations and is not mean, but it bit a neighbor and now I am being asked all kinds of questions and they are talking about some type of quarantine. What does all this mean?
- I think there is a squirrel, rat, bat, cat or raccoon in my attic that has built a nest. How can I get it out?
- Our dog just died and we want to get another one, how do we adopt a shelter animal?
- What can I do about stray cats around my house?
- Can you come and get an alligator that is swimming around in my pool?
- There is a baby bird on the ground. Can you come out and put it back in the tree?
- Can I take my dog to a deserted stretch of beach and let him run?
- Where do I pay my citation fine?
- I have rats. Can you come out and trap them?
- What is the difference between you and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission (FWCC)? What are some of the things they do that you do not?
- I saw an injured crane with a broken leg or missing leg. Can you come get it?
- I have a pigeon in my yard that has been there for two days now and I think it may be injured. Can you come get it?
- 1. Does Pinellas County have a dog park?
Yes, we have 6 dogs parks located throughout the county. Fort De Soto Park has the only dog beach. Please follow the dog park rules at all our our Dog Parks.
- 2. Is there a leash law in Pinellas County?
Sec. 14-63. Dogs or cats at large.
(a) No dog or cat shall run at large within the county, as defined under this article. Any person who possesses, harbors, keeps, or has control or custody of any dog or cat which is running at large shall be in violation of this article, regardless of the knowledge, intent or culpability of the owner. See pet laws
- 3. How do I become a foster care provider?
Foster care for Animal Services is reserved for our volunteers. For more information on how to volunteer for Animal Services, click here .
- 4. What is canine "kennel cough"?
Kennel cough is a “cold” that dogs can get that is highly contagious from dog to dog. Dogs from shelters can be susceptible to it due to stress and exposure to a large number of unvaccinated animals. Signs of kennel cough include runny eyes, nasal discharge, a cough that may or may not produce foam or bile, decrease or loss of appetite, and/or lethargy. If you notice these symptoms, try to separate the adoption dog from other dogs as much as possible contact your veterinarian.
- 5. What is feline upper respiratory infection?
URI is a "cold" that cats can get that is highly contagious from cat to cat. Cats from shelters can be susceptible to it due to stress and exposure to a large number of unvaccinated animals. Signs of upper respiratory include: sneezing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, decrease or loss of appetite and/or lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms please contact your veterinarian.
- 6. What should a pet owner do when a storm is approaching?
- In Pinellas County it is normal to have storms throughout our rainy season. Some dogs and cats are afraid of lightening and thunder.
Pet owners should also be prepared for a tropical storms and in case a tropical storm turns into a hurricane. Senior citizens have first priority in reserving a space in a pet friendly shelter. They must preregister to bring their pet to a shelter. To register, click here , print and mail your preregistration form to Animal Services, 12450 Ulmerton Road,
Largo. FL 33774.
- Have a plan for your entire family, which includes your pet(s).
- See website link for details: www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/petpreparedness.htm
- Do not leave your pet at home!
- 7. What is the adoption procedure?
After you select the animal you want to adopt, take the animal history card to the reception area, complete an adoption application, and, if approved, pay the fee (cash or credit card). In most cases, you can immediately take home your new friend for life.
- 8. How long do the animals stay up for adoption?
There is no time limit for the vast majority of adoptable animals as long as they remain healthy. Some pets have been available for adoption for only minutes. Others have been adopted after several months. If any pet in our adoption area does not get adopted out in a reasonable amount of time, Pinellas County Animal Services will transfer the pet(s) to another local Humane Agency and/or Rescue Agency that will provide them with further adoption opportunities. We have had great success with this program
- 9. Then what does it mean that you only hold an animal for four to seven days?
Hold time is seven days for animals with identification, four days without ID. If an owner does not reclaim their pet before the time expires, the animal will be moved to the adoption area if it is healthy and has good temperament. The animal will stay in the adoption area until it is adopted or sent to another shelter. The animal will not be euthanized unless it is determined to be unadoptable due to behavioral or medical issues. Most responsible owners reclaim lost pets within the first few days of impoundment.
There is no guaranteed holding period for an animal that is surrendered by its owner, or surrendered by the owner’s designated agent. Animal Services’ Veterinary staff will thoroughly examine the animal(s) as soon as deemed possible for two very important things; health and temperament. Providing the animal(s) are health and friendly, they will be placed up for adoption. If they are deemed aggressive, or severely ill, they will be humanely euthanized. When you turn the animal over to us, you relinquish all rights to ownership and further information regarding the animals or its disposition. We are unable to call you prior to disposition of the animal, be it by adoption or euthanasia.
- 10. How long do you hold animals?
Generally we will hold animals from four to seven days.
We also work with local shelters to help place as many healthy animals as we can. Please see holding times or more information.
- 11. Where do the animals come from?
About 75 percent of our adoptable animals were stray animals that were not redeemed by their owners. The remaining 25 percent were surrendered by their owners for a variety of reasons.
- 12. Do you have puppies that will stay small?
The most common puppies available for adoption will grow to become medium or large dogs. We do have puppies that will stay small but, they are not as common.
- 13. Do you have a specific breed of dog or cat?
Our selection of adoptable animals changes hourly. You can call our adoption staff at (727) 582-2600 after 1 p.m. Monday through Friday for the latest information on the breeds available for adoption at the Pinellas County Animal Services. View adoptable dogs and cats at closing time.
- 14. What are your operating hours and location?
Monday - Friday,
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
closes at 5:30 p.m.)
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Closed Sundays and holidays.
- 15. Do you provide veterinary services to the public?
We offer licenses and microchipping to citizens of Pinellas County. We also offer low cost spay and neuter for cats owned by citizens on public assistance. Any other services are only provided to the animals in our facility and are not available for owned animals. All animals adopted from Animal Services have been spayed / neutered and is vaccinated.
- 16. What type of items do you accept for donation?
We get a lot of questions by concerned animal lovers asking what they can donate. Here is our Wish List. We accept new or used items as long as they are clean. This is important in order to maintain a healthy and disease-free environment for our animals.
- 17. What are your adoption fees? Please see adoption fees
- 18. Is there a cost for dropping off an animal?
Yes, if you surrender a pet there is a $20 fee to help with necessary food, vaccinations and care.
- 19. What are the fees for a county license?
$20 for a one or three year license. Your pet must be vaccinated for rabies to be licensed. ***NOTICE***A rabies tag is only a temporary tag, it is not a County License. If you take your pet to a Veterinary Clinic or Mobile Clinic and only receive a rabies vaccination and they do not offer the sale of a County License, you will still be required to obtain a County License for your pet. If not, you could receive a citation that would require you to appear in court and/or pay a fine.
- 20. Who do I call about roadside animal corpse removal?
You are allowed to bag the animal and place it on your curb for garbage pickup. For more information, visit the A to Z Recycling and Disposal Guide.
21. How do I adopt a featured pet?
If you are interested in adopting the featured pet you may call to see if it is still available, however, we can not "hold" an animal. If you wish to adopt you must come to the facility, fill out the application and pay for the adoption. In most situations you will be able to take your animal home the same day.
- 22. What exactly do you do?
Pinellas County Animal Services provide a wide range of services to residents of Pinellas County. Our mission goals are public safety and health. Secondary to this is to help residents deal with animal issues. We patrol for stray dogs, lend out traps to help citizens remove stray cats and small nuisance wildlife, pick up sick and injured animals and transport them to veterinarians, rehabilitation centers and animal shelters. There the animals will receive care and medical treatment as necessary. We provide education about wildlife and referrals for need-specific services that go beyond what we provide. We investigate animal bites and reports of neglect and cruelty. We lend nearly three dozen traps weekly and service dozens more taking stray animals to the shelters. If we do not provide a service you need, in most instances, we can refer you to a person or agency that does. We spay and neuter the animals we put up for adoption. We assist in picking up animals during Natural Disasters such as hurricane evacuations. These are just some of the many services that we provide to the residents of Pinellas County. More About Us
- 23. Why does it take so long for animal enforcement officers to respond?
We are a small department in comparison to other county agencies in Pinellas County. The faster response of other agencies is due to their greater numbers. We average a little over 900 calls for service daily.
Pinellas County 15 animal control officers that work in the field, but they do not all work on the same days, so on any given day we may have 8-10 officers on the road. Sundays and after hours we only have one standby officer on call for emergencies (calls that have a police officer standing by). The animal populace exponentially outnumbers the people populous in Pinellas County by an even greater ratio. There are more than 24 cities and towns in addition to unincorporated areas of Pinellas County, which we provide full coverage, seven days a week.
- 24. What should we do until you arrive to help?
Try to remain calm. Call 9-1-1 if you are reporting a life-threatening situation. 9-1-1 can respond with police and rescue units faster than we can. For non-life threatening situations call us directly. When you call, tell the telecommunicator your situation. Telecommunicator's have a wealth of information, and in many instances can help you help yourself without having to wait for an enforcement officer to respond. The telecommunicator will also evaluate the circumstances of your call to determine if a field officer should respond and a case report will be initiated. Please provide your name, address, phone number, and directions on how best to get to your location. Also have a description of the animal(s) and the owner address, if known. Providing this information can expedite your call. Please stay on the phone until the telecommunicator gets the information typed in and reads it back to you for accuracy and confirmation.
- 25. I can get rabies vaccinations for a three-year period, but I have to renew my animal license tag annually. Why can’t I purchase a tag that is good for more than one year?
Currently, we offer a three year animal tag. Once you receive the required County License for your pet, this license number will be the number (similar to how social security numbers work) for your pet for it’s lifetime. However, you are still required to “renew” your pet’s County License when it expires; just like we must do for our vehicle tags.
- 26. Can I remain anonymous when I call you?
Yes. However, in doing so, you have to provide an exact address to respond to and provide more information about the circumstances of your call. We will investigate based on information provided. We respond to anonymous calls for the protection of the animal. If it is determined that the initial call is unfounded (has no merit), follow up anonymous calls about the same thing may not be responded to without the caller leaving their name, address and telephone number. When contacting Animal Services via e-mail, please remember that all correspondence is subject to Public Records Request and we cannot guarantee an anonymous request by e-mail.
- 27. What do you consider an emergency?
Emergencies are life threatening conditions such as aggressive animals, animals that have bitten someone, injured or sick animals with someone standing by with the animal until we arrive, and animals inside the living area of a dwelling that are of a high risk for rabies, such as bats and raccoons. All bite cases are also considered emergencies.
- 28. Why do I have to trap stray cats?
Catching cats not confined in some way such as in a room, garage, shed, etc., is difficult. There are many places for a cat to hide or climb, putting them out of reach. Cats may be friendly to a resident but will run from an officer because of all the animal smells on the officer’s uniform. Officer uniforms smell of dogs, raccoons, etc., which are natural enemies to a cat. When a cat smells these scents they instinctively flee to safety. Because of this we do not take cats being held by people. This could cause the person holding the cat to get scratched or bitten exposing the person to potential rabies. Because of limited resources and the high degree of failure in catching cats out in the open it has become necessary for residents to trap cats before we can successfully remove them from an area.
- 29. Can you bring me a trap?
We lend out traps to residents but we do not deliver them. We can place you on our waiting list and when a trap becomes available you will be notified of the date, time and location where you can pick up a trap. These traps are issued on a Monday and have to be returned by close of business on Friday of the same week. There is a $40 refundable deposit required on the trap, which you can pay by cash or check. The deposit is held and returned to you when you return the trap to us. If you catch animals while you have the trap, simply call us at (727) 582-2600 and we will send an officer out to remove them. There is a charge for servicing the trap.
- 30. I need a trap now! Is there any other place where I can rent, purchase or borrow a trap?
Yes. We can give you a retailer near you where you can rent a trap for a small fee. You can purchase traps at places like Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.
- 31. If I get a trap elsewhere and catch something where do I take the animal?
Dogs and cats may be taken to one of the animal shelters located in Pinellas County. However, you do not have to take the animal anywhere. Call us and we will come out to your home and remove the animal free of charge. You do not need a license to trap and transport cats and dogs. You do not need a license to trap wildlife, but you do need a license to transport wildlife.
- 32. What happens to the animals when you take them from the trap?
Domestic animals such as cats or dogs are taken to the Animal Services facility, where they are held for owners to reclaim them and then assessed for adoption. We discourage citizens from trapping healthy wildlife, and we strive to educate citizens on how to prevent wildlife from becoming a nuisance. If healthy wild animals are trapped, we encourage citizens to allow us to release the animal(s) at the location where they were trapped. The law prevents us from relocating and releasing trapped raccoons. Injured or sick wildlife is taken to a rehabber for evaluation to determine if medical treatment can help the animal fully recover. If so, the animal is turned over to a rehabber for treatment and then released back to the wild. For wildlife too severely injured or sick to be treated, humane euthanasia will be performed to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
- 33. Does it take someone getting mauled or killed before you people will remove a vicious dog from its owners?
No. But as long as an owner keeps his dog(s) confined to his property and complies with animal ordinances we cannot take any action against the owner to include taking the person’s dog from them. Animals are property and cannot be taken without due process of law. If the dog is violating the leash laws or other county ordinances we will deal with the violation(s) appropriately. Officers must witness violations or a resident who has witnessed a violation must provide our department with a properly prepared notarized affidavit.
- 34. My neighbor has a vicious pit bull. It is in a fenced area, but it is a pit bull and I am afraid of it. How do I go about getting it removed from the neighborhood?
It is NOT against any law in Pinellas County to own a pit bull or any other type of dog. We do not breed discriminate in Pinellas County. As long as the owner complies with applicable animal ordinances he/she may own any breed of canine. To learn more information about pit bulls, click here.
- 35. I am the manager of a mobile home park and we have restrictions on pets and do not allow large breed dogs in our park. We have a tenant that has a Rottweiler and we need you to make them get rid of it?
Animal Services cannot enforce your restrictions or contractual agreements with your tenants. We can only enforce violations of the Pinellas County Animal Ordinances.
- 36. Why was an Animal Services vehicle at my house this morning?
The requester’s address is obtained and a search is done on the computer. If we had a call we will tell the requester why the officer was in the neighborhood or at their address. In many cases, the officer may have received a call to do a patrol in the neighborhood and has simply stopped to complete his patrol report. If an officer stops at a residence on a trouble call, he/she will leave an orange “door tag” notice.
- 37. I’ve lost my cat or dog, what do I do?
First, make sure you drive around the neighborhood and post lost pet fliers. If you know of any other pet owners check with them, your pet may go there to socialize. Second, contact your local animal shelter or better yet go there and look around. Any animals found that we pick up are taken to our animal shelter. Third, make sure you keep your animal license tag updated with home and alternate telephone numbers. If someone finds your pet and calls in the license number we can look it up and give them your information and help reunite you with your pet much faster.
- 38. I have a problem with wild animals (raccoons, opossums, etc) getting into my garbage, what should I do?
Wildlife habitat is shrinking in Pinellas County. This has forced wildlife to live among people in residential communities. Raccoons and opossum are scavengers and will eat anything from grubs, citrus fruit, birdseeds, and cat and dog food, even scraps in garbage cans. Keeping lids locked down and weighted down will help keep wildlife out of your garbage cans. Opossum like to sleep in garbage cans during daylight hours and raccoons are very adept at opening trash can lids. It may be necessary to build a wire cage around your trash cans to keep the raccoons and other animals out. Trapping is an alternative that should only be used as a last resort. Remember any food source left outside is an attraction for these types of wildlife. Do not leave cat and dog food outside. If you must feed your pets outside make sure you take up the feed dishes after feeding and if possible spray some Lysol or other type air refresher where the food dishes were. The absence of smell of potential food will help keep these wildlife animals from taking up residence at your house.
- 39. I have a snake in my yard or in my home and do not know what kind it is or where it is now. What should I do?
Don’t panic. Usually they are just passing through. There are 44 different species of snakes indigenous to Pinellas County. Only six of these snakes are venomous. It is not uncommon to see snakes. Some snakes are good to have around because they feed on small rodents, bugs, and/or poisonous snakes. There are many websites you can go to in order to see photographs and read interesting information on Florida snakes. We do not have the resources that would permit officers the time needed to hunt for snakes. If you want someone to come out and search for snakes there are licensed professional trappers/wildlife listed in the yellow pages of your phone book that you may hire to provide this service.
40. Does Animal Services have any educational programs where you come out and address home owner associations, schools, etc?
Yes. We have a Speaker Bureau which includes topics on animals and you can schedule a speaker to come speak at your school, homeowner’s association meeting, etc. If you would like to schedule our outreach officer, please click here for more information.
- 41. My neighbor’s dog gets out all the time and chases me. What can I do?
If you have a chronic problem with a neighbor’s dog getting loose and chasing you, get to safety and call us. If the dog is out when we arrive on scene we may impound the dog. We will speak with the owner and take other action as may be necessary when the officer arrives on scene.
- 42. Does the leash law really apply to cats?
Yes. It is a violation of Pinellas County Animal Ordinance Sec. 14-63, which states, “No dog or cat shall run at large within the county, as defined under this article. Any person who possesses, harbors, keeps, or has control or custody of any dog or cat which is running at large shall be in violation of this article, regardless of the knowledge, intent or culpability of the owner.” The leash law is the same for cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot be left unattended unless confined to the owner’s property by leash or fencing mechanism. When walking cats or dogs, a leash must be used with one end attached securely to the animal and the other end under the physical control of a person capable of handling the animal. Cats that are allowed to simply roam free can get injured and/or affected in many different ways: Hit by a car, injured/killed by dogs or coyotes, catch infectious diseases from other cats roaming free or even rabies from a raccoon.
- 43. I have bees, you are Animal Services, and can you come and remove them?
No. Bees are stinging insects and include yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, etc. These insects are considered household pests and are therefore the resident’s responsibility. We encourage you to contact a pest removal service to remove stinging insects. A hive can literally harbor tens of thousands of stinging insects and dealing with them can be very dangerous. A professional is your best and safest way to have them removed.
- 44. How long is going to take for an officer to get here?
We do not give out estimated times of arrival. The reason is that we simply don’t know because of the many variables involved. Much depends on the number of officers that are on duty, the number of calls of equal or higher urgency, and the number of calls that may follow your call of a higher urgency. We have no way of knowing what type of call or how many calls are going to come in that will effect our response time for your call.
- 45. Why can't you make my call the highest urgency call.
Lying and filing a false report or urgency just to get a faster response could land you in big trouble. More importantly, lying and filing a false report or urgency could take us away from a legitimate emergency, which could result in pets, children and adults sustaining injury.
- 46. Do you pick up dead animals?
No. The only exception is dead animals at a day care, school, or near a bus stop.
- 47. How can I get rid of armadillos around my house?
Armadillos are coming onto your property to look for food. If there is no food, they will not stay. The food they are looking for is probably insects and larvae. These insects can damage your lawn as well as attract armadillos. So if you treat your lawn and get rid of the pest the armadillos will follow. You can also use a form of fertilizer called blood meal. The odor is offensive to armadillos and helps keep them away. There are also commercial repellants you can find at hardware or feed stores.
- 48. I keep trapping raccoons around my house, but the next night another one shows up, what can I do about these animals?
If raccoons are on your property each night foraging (not just passing through) they are looking for food and you are on the list of likely places to find it. Look around to see if your garbage cans are left open, or if pet food is left out after feedings. These things may be attracting the raccoons. If you live near heavily wooded areas the animals are always going to be there due to the territorial range of the animal. Before you start trapping decide if the raccoons are pests or if they are just part of the neighborhood. If you put out food for birds or squirrels don’t be surprised when the opossum and raccoon show up to share in the festivities. If a raccoon looks like it is nesting in your oak, wait until after he/she leaves for the night to look for food and throw a few moth balls up in the tree. Raccoons do not like the smell and will move to another location to nest.
- 49. I saw a raccoon, opossum or fox in my yard during the day; does it have rabies?
No, raccoons will forage around the clock if they are hungry. They will also forage if they have a litter to feed. If the animal is exhibiting unusual behavior such as, staggering, snarling, walking in circles or falling down it could be rabid, call the rabies hotline at Animal Services (727) 582-2608. As with all wildlife, stay away from it.
- 50. I saw an opossum in my trash can and when I approached it hissed at me and it looks really sick, is that a sign of rabies?
No, the opossum was warning you not to come any closer. Opossums naturally look sick so it is really difficult to tell by looks alone. Opossums are not carriers of the rabies virus. Nor are they a good host for rabies due to low body temperature. However, as with the raccoons, look for unusual behavior, biting at the air, inability to walk or climb to determine if the animal might have a problem. The opossum’s natural defense is to play dead hence the term “playing possum.” But, if you get too close it will hiss at you and display a formidable array of teeth.
- 51. Can I give my dog or cat rabies vaccinations?
No, only vaccinations given by a licensed veterinarian are considered valid in Florida for dogs, cats and ferrets.
- 52. My roommate has a dog and I help take care of it when he’s at work, when I let the dog go out he won’t come back when I call. Can I be held responsible for the dog?
Yes, as a caregiver you can be held responsible for the activity of the animal and can receive citations. Work with the dog and your roommate to find a way to control the dog.
- 53. My dogs like to ride in the back of my truck what are the laws regarding him riding back there?
If your dog is riding in the back of a pickup truck it needs to be restrained by a minimum of two tethers fixed to opposite sides of the vehicle and attached to a collar or harness being worn by the animal. The animal can also be confined in a humane manner inside a locked animal carrier mounted in the bed of the truck in such a way as not to slide out or fall off the truck.
- 54. My dog died. Can I bury him in the backyard ?
Your pet can be buried in your backyard if you are the owner of the property or have the property owner’s permission. As a rule of thumb you will need to bury your pet as deep as it is long. For more information, visit the A to Z Recycling and Disposal Guide.
- 55. I just bought a dog from someone and it was sick (or it died) is there a law against that?
Yes. The Pet Lemon Law provided protection to consumers.
- 56. My dog has all of its vaccinations and is not mean, but it bit a neighbor and now I am being asked all kinds of questions and they are talking about some type of quarantine. What does all this mean?
In Florida, when a dog or cat bites or scratches another person or animal it must be placed on quarantine no matter what the rabies vaccination status is. The questions are for a bite report we are required by law to fill out. Be patient and cooperate with the officer and everything will be fine. You should also analyze why the dog bit and what you should do to prevent future incidents of this type. Fore more serious situations, the dangerous dog ordinance may apply.
- 57. I think there is a squirrel, rat, bat, cat or raccoon in my attic that has built a nest. How can I get it out?
These animals like your attic because it is cozy and quiet and the perfect place for a home. To get them out you need to make it not so cozy. The first thing you should do is figure out how the animal is getting into the attic. Then cover all the ways in except one, so the critter can get out. Place some sort of bright light in the attic such as one of those “clamp on type” lights and leave it on around the clock. Then place a radio in the attic, as close to the suspected nest as safely possible and tune it to a rock or talk station and play it as loud as possible. Do this for several days to allow the animal time to find or build a new nest and to move any babies that might be present. Check the nest after a day or so and if it is empty seal the last hole.
- 58. Our dog just died and we want to get another one, how do we adopt a shelter animal?
The first thing you need to do is visit our shelter and get to know a dog or cat. There is an area where you and a prospective pet can interact with each other. If you already have a pet you can bring it and see if they will get along. You will then be required to fill out an application for adoptions and pay a fee. The animal will also need to be spayed or neutered, which is included in the cost of adopting. Our shelter has knowledgeable people who can answer animal related questions for you. There are wonderful animal companions waiting for you at our Pinellas County Animal Services facility, you owe it to yourself to stop by. We also partner with several local pet stores and other humane agencies in Pinellas, so please check there too. And remember donations are always appreciated at your local shelter.
- 59. What can I do about stray cats around my house?
Cats are covered by the same leash laws as dogs. When not on the owner’s property a leash must be used to restrain the cat. Cats are not allowed to run loose and come onto your property. If the cats can be identified the complainant can file a sworn affidavit and Animal Services will issue a citation to the owner. Due to a cat’s ability to evade capture by humans, our officers will not come to your home to capture strays, however you can trap the cats and we will send an officer out to remove the animal from the trap. We will loan you the trap and give you instructions on how to use it.
- 60. Can you come and get an alligator that is swimming around in my pool?
No. With so many alligators now in Pinellas County, there is the possibility that one may find its way into your yard. If this is the case, be sure to bring all family members – including the four-legged variety – indoors and call Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission’s nuisance alligator hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286). Here is also a web page that has information on what to do about nuisance alligators .
- 61. There is a baby bird on the ground. Can you come out and put it back in the tree?
The best bet is to leave it alone. Baby birds fall out of trees as they learn to fly. The parents will still feed and tend to it on the ground, but not if it becomes the center of human attention. So watch out for neighborhood cats and let nature take its course. If the bird is in danger and you can’t reach the nest you can make a temporary nest by hanging a flowerpot from a branch in the same tree and putting the bird in it. The parents will feed and care for the bird in the new nest; contrary to the “old wives tale” birds do not smell human contact.
- 62. Can I take my dog to a deserted stretch of beach and let him run?
No. Dogs are not allowed on any beach in Pinellas County, except in a designated area at Fort De Soto Park.
- 63. Where do I pay my citation fine?
You will find the locations on the back of the citation. Pay fines at the County Court House, 315 Court St., Clearwater, FL. The Probate office is located on the first floor near the information desk. If you have the case number or date of birth of the person who received the citation, you can pay on-line.
- 64. I have rats. Can you come out and trap them?
No. Animal Services does not come out to remove rats. You can look in your yellow pages for a pest removal company.
- 65. What is the difference between you and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission (FWCC)? And, what are some of the things they do that you do not?
Animal Services is unique to Pinellas County. The FWCC is a State agency. The FWCC deal with all alligator problems and enforces laws against feeding certain wildlife such as Sandhill Cranes and Raccoons. They also respond to all Protected, Threatened and Endangered Species such as the Scrub Jay, Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, and Manatees to name but a few. They are also the fastest way to get help for beached sea mammals such as whales, sea turtles, dolphins and manatees. Their emergency number is 1-888-404-3922. The FWCC has a detailed listing of wildlife rehabbers and transporters in Pinellas County who may be able to assist you with the birds and animals listed above.
- 66. I saw an injured crane with a broken leg or missing leg, Can you come get it?
Birds with a broken leg, which still have the capability to fly, are best left alone. As long as the bird can fly it can sustain itself. Trying to catch a bird, especially the larger sea birds, can do more damage to the bird than leaving it along. If a bird has a broken wing or cannot fly because it is to weak then it can be helped. You should call the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary at (727) 391-6211.
- 67. I have a pigeon in my yard that has been there for two days now and I think it may be injured. Can you come get it?
It is not unusual for a pigeon to behave this way, especially if it is a banded or courier pigeon. These birds are still widely used as messenger/courier birds. They can sometimes fly great distances to deliver their message. They often stop to rest and eat for several days before continuing their mission. As long as they can fly, this is probably just what they are doing. If you are overly concerned, take a couple of pots and run at the bird banging the pots together. If the bird can fly this will surely motivate him to demonstrate his flight capability to you, even if it is a short flight.
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